Everton's Europa League campaign got off to the perfect start two weeks ago with a 4-1 win over Bundesliga side Wolfsburg at Goodison Park, but the Toffees then went three games without a win in the Premier League and in the Capital One Cup, meaning tonight's clash with Russian side FC Krasnodar was important as manager Roberto Martinez looks to get some momentum going for his team after a slow start.
Brazilian striker Ari gave Krasnodar the lead just before half time though, and it took until the 82nd minute before Everton found an equaliser, with Samuel Eto'o scoring a goal on his return to Russia after a two-year spell with Anzhi Makhachkala. The result leaves Everton top of Group H with four points from two games, and Martinez praised his players for their character after producing what the Spaniard labelled an 'incredible result'.
"I am pleased because I thought Krasnodar played really, really well. I thought they started with a lot of energy and they pressed us really high up the field," Martinez said."I was very pleased with the manner that we stayed in the game because they created a couple of opportunities. We showed an incredible character to know that we had to wait a little bit and then be able to get ourselves back in the game."
"I think we finished the second half really, really strongly and I think the energy levels were in our favour at that point. It’s an incredible result for us to be able to get something from a very good side who used their home advantage very well," added the former Wigan boss. "We were able to weather the storm in a couple of periods and then I felt we finished really strongly and could have won it at the end."
Fans may not quite see how drawing 1-1 with a solid if unspectacular Russian side is 'incredible', but it was a tough place to go away to on a Thursday, and Everton will hope to use their late equaliser as a boost ahead of this weekend's trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.